The start of the 2020 MLB season has been pushed back due to coronavirus but we still expect to fire up the barbecue, crack open a cold one and watch America’s pastime by the summer.
With plenty of time to get your futures bets in order before the baseball season begins, let’s take a look at the betting odds for the 2020 AL and NL Cy Young awards.
ODDS TO WIN AL CY YOUNG AWARD
|Player||Odds to win AL Cy Young Award|
Gerrit Cole +150
Cole would have been a deserving choice last year but lost in a close vote to his former Astros teammate Justin Verlander. Cole went 20-5 while leading the league in both ERA (2.50) and strikeouts (326).
After two years in Houston, Cole joined the Yankees in the offseason on a nine-year $324 million contract. One factor that may affect Cole’s chances in 2020 is that he could have a bit of a learning curve pitching in a new ballpark, especially a hitter-friendly spot like Yankee Stadium.
Lucas Giolito +1,200
The White Sox right-hander has seen his odds rise from the +2,000 he was listed at in February. Giolito is a former elite prospect who broke through last season with Chicago. After a disappointing 2018 season where he posted a 6.13 ERA and walked 90 batters, Giolito stepped up his game in 2019, going 14-9 with a 1.06 WHIP and fanning 228 batters while walking 57.
Giolito emerged as an All-Star despite being hampered with a lat strain and a hamstring injury. If he’s 100 percent healthy, he could be even better in 2020.
BEST VALUE BET
Tyler Glasnow +1,800
Glasnow missed a large stretch of last season with a forearm injury, but when healthy the 26-year-old was one of the best in the business. The 6-foot-8 righthander had a 1.78 ERA with 76 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 60 2/3 innings in 2019. He was on pace for a whopping 7.6 WAR before injuries derailed his year.
Glasnow has incredible stuff, throwing with outstanding velocity and tremendous spin. With his command getting better he could be a sneaky bet for the Cy Young.
ODDS TO WIN NL CY YOUNG AWARD
|Players||Odds to win NL Cy Young award|
Jacob deGrom +250
After winning back-to-back Cy Young awards deGrom is the favorite to win again in 2020. DeGrom had another dominant season for the Mets in 2019 despite a modest 11-8 record. He posted a 2.43 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP while striking out 255 batters in 204 innings of work.
That said, deGrom needed a fantastic end to the year after a mediocre start where he went just 4-7 with a 3.27 ERA before the All-Star break. With lots of pitching competition in the National League it will be very difficult for deGrom to claim his third Cy Young in a row.
Yu Darvish +1,600
Darvish was listed at +3,000 just one month ago but his odds have increased massively since then. The 33-year-old Cubs hurler finished last year on a high-note with a 2.76 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP in 13 starts after the All-Star break.
However, Darvish hasn’t been a Cy Young contender since his second year in the majors which was all the way back in 2013.
BEST VALUE BET
Jack Flaherty +500
There was only one NL pitcher more impressive in the second half of the season than deGrom and that was Flaherty. The Cardinals right-hander went 7-2 with an incredible 0.77 ERA and a BAA of .131 in August and September.
Flaherty is 24 years old and is just starting to tap into his vast potential. If he continues this year where he left off last year, this award could be his to lose.
UNDERSTANDING CY YOUNG ODDS
Most sportsbooks will display odds in the American format as listed above. When Justin Verlander looked to have the AL Cy Young locked up last September, his odds had a minus (-) sign ahead of the number.
- Justin Verlander -300
That means that a bettor in September had to wager $300 to win $100 by betting on Verlander. Since this year’s race hasn’t even begun yet, every candidate currently has a (+) sign in front of their number.
- Gerrit Cole +150
With Cole’s current odds, a bettor stands to profit $150 for every $100 wagered on him.
If American odds aren’t your thing, simply use a tool like our odds converter to switch the odds to decimal or fractional format. Most online sportsbooks also give you the option to change the odds format that you see.
HOW TO BET FUTURES ODDS
Futures betting is different than betting on an individual game because you need to consider the long haul as opposed to a single event. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when betting futures odds.
Change your strategy at different points in the season
While some futures bets must be placed before the season begins and are then removed off the board (such as team win totals), other wagers will change odds as the season goes on.
If you are wagerig money on a futures bet with changing odds keep in mind that there is less variance at the beginning of the season (when more players and teams are still in contention) and more variance as the season goes on (when teams and players at the top separate themselves from those at the bottom).
In the preseason and beginning of the season, betting on dark horses can prove very profitable. But as the season continues, expect to see odds tighten around the favorites. At that point it becomes wise to focus on the players near the top of the odds board and betting big underdogs is practically like giving your money away.
Look for value with underdogs
While the bigger names tend to be strong favorites, there are also live long shots that can provide tremendous value. Look at younger players on the verge of breaking out, or guys that have already been playing at a high level but could take the next step now that they are in an ideal situation with a new team, coach or system.
Other players that can give a great payout are established stars coming off under-performing years due to injuries or other factors. If you’re lucky you might be able to catch them in a bounce-back year.
Follow the narrative
When placing futures bets on individual awards, keep in mind that voters, not a scoreboard are often the deciding factor. Voters can be influenced by a variety of factors, including media coverage and public opinion. Consider what the media narrative is for a particular season and which players they seem to be rooting for and against.
For example in Lebron James’ first season in Miami he was viewed as a villain or heel by the media and Derrick Rose who ended up winning MVP was the perfect foil for that. When Ron Dayne won the Heisman trophy back in 1999 it was viewed by many as a well-deserved reward for his entire career at Wisconsin.
Research historical trends
Historical trends, especially recent ones, can give you a good idea of which way voters tend to lean.
The NBA MVP for example, almost always goes to a player on the best or second-best regular season team in the league. While the Heisman trophy is almost exclusively given to a quarterback or running back – and over the last couple of decades has been overwhelmingly handed out to QBs.
Identifying those trends is a good way to seperate the true contenders from the pretenders.